An Academy Award Nominee Shares Jordan Experience

by Rand Dalgamouni

Jordan Times (Amman)
May 9, 2011 Monday

May 09–AMMAN — For award-winning designer Patricia Field, beauty
is a drug. She seeks and imparts it as a consistent signature on her
different designs.

“I live in beauty,” she told The Jordan Times in an interview on

The half-Armenian, half-Greek fashion icon, who was on a short visit
to the Kingdom, said she experienced a sense of familiarity with the
people and culture of Jordan.

“Both my parents were close to Turkey, which is at the edge of this
region, so I don’t feel out of place here,” the New York native said,
adding that she sees her “double upbringing” as an advantage that
helps her understand and absorb different cultures.

Visiting the Kingdom to attend the painting exhibition of a friend, the
designer said she felt she was being taken on “a house tour” in Amman.

“So many people have invited me to their houses and shown me around
their homes,” she told The Jordan Times.

“It was a totally new experience, but with familiar echoes.”

Field was introduced to the works of several local designers who are
inspired by their Jordanian heritage.

“It was interesting to watch how the interpretation [of heritage]
happens. It’s nothing that you can force,” she said.

Heritage, along with many other sources of inspiration snowball as the
mind collects “more data”, until the time comes for the designer to
“pluck the information and make a fusion”, Field explained.

“I think it’s natural, positive and healthy to be inspired first by
your heritage, but not only by it.”

For the Academy Award nominee, her roots are an indivisible ingredient
in “the pot of soup from which you interpret what’s around you”.

The different experiences she goes through “go into the pot and cook
into it”, she said.

“It’s never that simple. You don’t see a flower and use it to design
a hat.”

Field offers her designs at a New York boutique that has been in
business since 1966. She is known for designing costumes for television
shows like “Sex and the City” and “Ugly Betty”, and movies such as
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “The Devil Wears Prada”.

She won two Emmys and five Costume Designers Guild Awards, and was
nominated for an Oscar for her work in “The Devil Wears Prada”.

Field said she enjoys designing for television and film because she
likes “the narrative”, since it goes well with her “personal style”
in designing.

But it is never about the money for her, she insists.

“You can’t do things for money as your primary reason. Money was
invented somewhere along the line; it wasn’t always there.”

Her advice for young aspiring designers is to “enjoy what you do;
follow your heart — not your fears — and your life will be good”.

From: A. Papazian

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